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Tuesdays With James: Joey Porter Jr. and More of what James Franklin Discussed in his Week 2 Presser

Penn State is 1-0 in the 2022 season, and coach James Franklin’s most famous saying at Penn State is “1-0 this week.”

The team is looking to finish a week undefeated for the second time in 2022. Penn State caps off its week with Saturday’s home opener against Ohio. 

Franklin had his weekly press conference Tuesday, and here are some key points from the session. 

JPJ ALL DAY

“Joey Porter was a national player of the week in the Bednarik Award,” Franklin said in his opening statement, “but he didn’t get any Big Ten love for whatever reason.”

The fact that Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. received the Bednarik Award’s National Defensive Player of the Week but didn’t receive any honors from the Big Ten justifiably confused Franklin. But that snub didn’t take away Franklin’s good feelings about how his player performed. 

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw Porter’s way 14 times, but Porter rose to the challenge. 

He broke up three passes– two in the fourth quarter– and, according to Pro Football Focus, forced six incompletions, which is the most since PFF started tracking college games in 2014.

Porter also had a team-high eight tackles for Penn State, and Franklin was impressed with Porter’s whole body of work, especially against a quarterback like O’Connell and an offense like Purdue’s.

“This guy does as good of a job as anybody in terms of throwing the ball, both the head coach (Jeff Brohm), the coordinator (Brian Brohm and the quarterback,” Franklin said. They do a really good job at it, and Joey kept getting tested and, as the game went on, really played well. I think his confidence continues to grow, and obviously, it’s a great way for him to start the season.”

ASSESSING THE LINE

Penn State’s offensive line took a lot of criticism last season, and how it performs in 2022 will significantly impact how Penn State’s year plays out. 

So what were Franklin’s thoughts on how the line did in Week 1?

Although Penn State struggled in some areas up front, such as run-blocking– Penn State rushed for just 98 yards on 32 carries and didn’t have a run longer than 12 yards– Franklin was pleased overall. 

“I thought the majority of our offensive linemen played well,” Franklin said. “We had, I think, one penalty on the offensive line and one sack, so we have to clean that up. Watching the tape, we had a chance for a few more explosive runs. We had to make that one free hitter miss, and we weren’t able to do that. But we just have to continue to progress.

“One sack in the game, on the road, first game in the Big Ten, I think we took a step, but there’s still work that needs to be done.”

WELCOME BACK, CARTER

Penn State planned on giving true freshman linebacker Abdul Carter a solid amount of playing time.

Those plans changed when Carter got ejected for targeting on his first defensive play.

Carter’s ejection happened early in the second quarter, and it threw Franklin’s planned rotation off balance for the rest of the night. 

“We were expecting him to play a decent amount in that game,” Franklin said. “It was dependent on how he was going to play. With it being his first game, we didn’t want to have a strict rotation.”

After Carter’s ejection, Jamari Buddin got a heavier load of reps at linebacker. 

Carter was in for one play on speical teams along with his defensive rep. 

“Our plan was for much more than that,” Franklin said. 

The same plan is in place for the Ohio game. 

“This week, I’d like to get him a ton of reps both on special teams and on defense,” Franklin said. “Then this game will give us a better feel of how that rotation will go moving forward.”

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